Keeping her feet on the ground while her head is in the clouds. We have heard it said; we have been told to do it; we may have even said it about ourselves or others.
I am referring to another struggle I have with my daughter and sharing custody. If I didn’t share custody, I don’t think this would be an issue.
There is definitely a difference in financial status between me and my ex, but even more so, there is a definite difference in how we live our lives and view others, or more so how we think or want others to view us.
Other than my personal appearance and my struggle with weight, the only area I seem to really care what other people think of me. I shouldn’t, but it was ingrained into my head for so long, it is proving hard to break. But that is another story. In this story, we are dealing with status, or lack, or image, or financial standing, or, umm, I don’t even know what to call it.
I am trying to teach my daughter that what others think of her doesn’t matter. It is important what she thinks of herself. It is more important why she does things than the fact that she does them.
The first and more simple red flag came very expectedly. Most teens get to a certain age and it is important that they shop at certain stores and wear certain brands. I expected this. She doesn’t only get to go to those chosen stores or wear all high-end labeled clothing, but she gets some. It is more prevalent at her dad’s than at mom’s. I don’t mind occasionally spending more money on certain things, but overall, we can get those same shorts at a different store for half the price. I see her friends, and they don’t all have designer labels. She doesn’t judge them for not having them. Why does she think others are, or will, judge her?
The next came when I was looking for a house for me, a newly single mom and two kids. She wanted to know where we were going to live. Since I had just started looking, I said I wasn’t sure, but I would take her and her brother to see some of the houses that I liked. She asked again where we were going to live, so I responded yet again that I didn’t know. She was frustrated with me. I explained that I had not found a house yet. She asked, “okay, but WHERE are we going to live?” Now I am at a loss and explain yet again that I have not found a house, so I don’t know where. She says she knows I haven’t found a house yet, but where is the house going to be? Okay, now the wheels in my head start turning. In my married life, and in my daughter’s current life with her dad, we lived in an elite gated neighborhood of few houses. So I told her we would not be living in that neighborhood, but there were others around that were equally as nice. Her response totally threw me for a loop: “Oh, we have to live with the common folk?”
Now those words have never come out of my mouth, and I would have to say never even crossed my mind, so where did it come from? Oh, I have my suspicions.
The most recent red flag has to do with a new gym her dad has joined. It’s a club, not a gym. It is more geared toward hanging out than working out, more towards status than health. People who join the club want people to KNOW they belong to the club. So I find my daughter leaving on her wrist band after she has been to the club, even wearing it to school. When I question her about it, she clams up or gets defensive and removes the band. I don’t push; I let it go.
I most certainly see traits of her father’s look-at-me attitudes. On the other hand, I see a kind and giving and caring young lady. She has even made comments to contradict these behaviors I have mentioned, like when returning to school after Christmas break and expressing concern about telling her friends what she got for Christmas. She was almost embarrassed at the amount of stuff she received. She said she didn’t want her friends to think she was spoiled or that she had changed over the break.
So, how do I keep her feet on the ground? I live my life the way I do and hope to set a good example. I pray a lot. And I try to keep communication with her open and honest.
Photo Credit: Cody Wiley Photography